Self-Support for PostgreSQL: Is It Saving You Money or Costing You?

May 08, 2023

Why do businesses adopt open source databases like PostgreSQL?

Freedom, flexibility, full control over your own data and cost-efficiency have made PostgreSQL the leading database management system (DBMS) for innovators who are tired of the restrictions imposed by legacy database providers like Oracle. As an open source database, many PostgreSQL adopters are self-supporting their database, unaware of other less risky and cost-effective options.

This makes sense, especially if you’re fed up with the exorbitant support costs of proprietary DBMS providers. If you’re looking to take total control over your own tech stack, why wouldn’t you want to self-support? It seems like an easy way to save money.

But in this case, seems is the operative word. A self-supported PostgreSQL strategy can actually cost more than it saves—in operations, maintenance and overall profitability.


How do you rate your PostgreSQL expertise?

PostgreSQL is an highly extensible DBMS, capable of supporting a wide variety of transformational initiatives. However, organizations often mistake this extensibility for simplicity when it comes to database management.

PostgreSQL is a feature-rich database with important differences from other DBMS systems—it offers immense opportunities, but it is not a plug and play substitute for other databases, having its own unique characteristics. 

If you’re trying to configure or optimize PostgreSQL, do you have someone who can provide the know-how? Or are your teams going to have to scour message boards for answers that they may not locate for hours.

If you want to integrate a new tool into your PostgreSQL stack, will you be able to, smoothly? Or will you be risking downtime caused by an error that both inhibits your innovation and frustrates your customers?

Most importantly, if your PostgreSQL goes down, how long will your in-house support team take to get it back up and running? Because every second your database is down, it’s chipping away at both your revenue and reputation.


The cost of database downtime 

According to Gartner’s estimates, every minute of downtime amounts to roughly $5,600 in lost revenue. So, if your database infrastructure is down for an hour, that amounts to $300,000.

300 thousand dollars per hour!

Consequently, those who choose self-supported database administration for PostgreSQL need to ask themselves a number of questions:

  • What are our plans for downtime, during upgrades and installations?
  • How are we equipped to respond to unplanned outages? 
  • Do we have a trusted advisor who we can lean on for PostgreSQL questions and guidance?

But there is an even more long-lasting cost - the hit to your company’s reputation.

No one likes to have a business-critical system go down unexpectedly, but it’s a reality for which enterprises must be prepared. With self-support your organization is forced to address problems they may not be equipped to handle resulting in derailing ongoing projects, impacting the brand reputation and bleeding revenue.


Accelerate innovation

As previously mentioned, PostgreSQL’s innovative potential is a key driver for adoption among businesses of all sizes. The open source nature of the DBMS makes it easy to integrate whatever third party tools a team might require, and scale without the fear of growing fees or license ceilings.

However, in order to take full advantage of this promise, an enterprise must be able to guarantee the ongoing performance of its PostgreSQL estate—and self-support can often prove to be a hurdle.

According to Gartner’s Key IT Metrics Data 2023, only 12% of the average IT budget is allocated towards innovation. Why?

In many cases, it’s because IT departments have to devote their time to putting out fires, fixing bugs, overseeing updates and other administrative tasks that take attention away from the transformative projects that business leaders hope to implement.

This is almost a guarantee with self-supported PostgreSQL: your teams may spend so much time making sure your DBMS is running, that they don’t have the bandwidth to work on new exciting projects!

This might not seem especially problematic in the short-term, but for organizations who want to stand out as innovators and build modern applications that distinguish them from the competition, the inability to do so because of constant operational issues can be devastating in the long run. 

Imagine being a gourmet chef, who is stuck being the sole cook and the dishwasher. You’re so busy scrubbing the grease off pans and utensils that you can’t deliver that truly incredible dish you had in mind for your clientele.

That’s the lost opportunity cost of self-supported PostgreSQL.


Enterprise support helps you get the most from your PostgreSQL—profit and performance

So, what’s the alternative? 

Enterprise-grade PostgreSQL partner support provides a direct line to those who build and maintain PostgreSQL, 24/7, 365 days a year.

With enterprise-grade PostgreSQL partner support, you get around the clock support coverage with response times as quick as 15 minutes for critical issues and the ability to remedy problems much faster than self-support, so that unplanned downtime is dramatically reduced. You can even avoid much unplanned downtime altogether with Remote DBA 24/7 monitoring.  You can trust that your DBMS is ‘Always On,’ whether you’re in the midst of an unplanned outage or a planned upgrade. Not only that—you can embark on a new journey where you can reduce risk, lower costs and focus on what matters most to your business. 

With enterprise-grade partner support you can allocate resources to strategic initiatives like:

  • Implementing AI technology
  • Reducing technical debt
  • Monetizing data insights
  • Modernizing cyber defenses

At EDB, we understand the desire for freedom, flexibility and savings that drive innovators to PostgreSQL—the demand for sovereignty over your data and your database. The best way to achieve that is through the support of those who know PostgreSQL best to make it enterprise-grade.

Collaboration is what made PostgreSQL what it is. When it comes to support, you don’t want to do it alone.

Want to learn more? Attend our webinar “The Profitability of Self-Supported PostgreSQL” with EDB Senior VP of Tech Support, Jamie Watt.

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